But in a funny way, sports have become a big part of her life. In fact, it was the reason she visited UB in the first place.
“I first came to UB because my sister had a soccer tournament when I was a freshman in high school,” she says. “Later on in high school, a friend and I visited UB and went on a campus tour.” Suddenly, everything came together for Maria: “As we were walking around, it just felt right.”
Maria with her friends at Oozfest.
Maria never expected that she’d play for a championship football game in college. But, as a clarinetist in UB’s marching band, the Thunder of the East, she got the chance to perform for the crowd as the UB Bulls captured their first MAC championship. And she was amazed at the reception the band got from the national exposure: “There was a kid from Texas who was watching the game, and he called us afterward and said he really wanted to come to UB to play in our band — it was so cool.”
Maria visiting El Parque de María Luisa in Seville.
Yet the best thing she’s done, Maria says, is spend a semester abroad in Seville, Spain. She loved constantly learning new things, outside the classroom as well as in.
“Things that seem trivial, that nobody bothers to teach, are what I spent every day learning about. Who knew that tips are not left for waiters? Or that Spain takes part in Daylight Savings Time? I never would have thought any of this information was important until I was living in a culture where it affected what I did on a daily basis,” she says.
Maria riding a camel in Morocco.
“Our group took a day trip to Córdoba, and we ate at El Caballo Rojo, which is the restaurant where the king of Spain dines when he is visiting the city. It was such a surreal visit because it’s a place where many people in Spain don't even have the chance to go.”
She would have stayed for a whole school year, but her future called: She has to study for the LSATs. It was participating in UB’s REALM program (Real Experience and Leadership Mentoring) that cemented her desire to become a lawyer.
This summer, she’s interning in Los Angeles with a neighborhood legal services organization that usually only hires current law students. They were so impressed with Maria’s resume, however, that they couldn’t let her get away.
Last updated: May 23, 2013 3:32 am EST